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Thursday, December 3 2009

On the Sixth Day God Created Man…chester, Part Four.

Doves and Elbow register in the 9-to-5 tradition of working class Manchester, where respect is earned through hard work, and character is assessed by true-to-self authenticity and true-to-others selflessness.


Monday, November 30 2009

Bela and Boban in Budapest

The first phrase to learn in Budapest has to be "Maga sokkal jobban tud angolul, mint én magyarul", or “Your English is far better than my Hungarian.”


Monday, November 23 2009

Spinach and Broccoli Music: An Interview with Composer and Drummer John Hollenbeck

John Hollenbeck recombines the familiar in compositions that are startlingly new. His new Eternal Interlude is among the best jazz of 2009. Here, he explains his quirky, fresh methods.


Tuesday, November 17 2009

Dimensional Walls Getting Thinner: The Collective Minds of Krallice

What started out a back-to-basics project has turned into one of the coolest, most forward-thinking American metal bands of this decade.


Monday, November 16 2009

Hip-Hop & the Contrast Principle

Hip-hop, as a culture and a musical genre, moves at lightning speed. Keeping up requires an awareness of our expectations and a willingness to revisit our assumptions.


Thursday, November 5 2009

Metal, Back from Purgatory

The Rockist attends his most eagerly anticipated metal show in over a decade only to find... the Banana Splits?


Tuesday, November 3 2009

The Music That Matters Part One: Bill Monroe and Ralph Rinzler

In the late '30s and '40s, Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys were the biggest stars in country music, but when he appeared onstage at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, he did so after a number of years spent toiling in relative obscurity.


Sunday, November 1 2009

Keeping Some Dirt Under the Grass: John Hartford and the Roots of Newgrass

At a time when country music was shining like a new dime, John Hartford and his collaborators were digging into old time music to find something new.


Wednesday, October 21 2009

Is there Virtue in Virtuosity?

Two recent releases by leading saxophonists Chris Potter and James Carter raise the question of the utility—or the misuses—of virtuosity in jazz.


Tuesday, October 20 2009

Bluegrass Grows in Brooklyn

The Five Deadly Venoms are leading the charge of a thriving bluegrass scene in Brooklyn.


Tuesday, October 13 2009

Castle Walls of Blood and Bone: An Interview with Converge

With four landmark albums this decade alone, Converge has saved its best work for last. Vocalist Jacob Bannon talks with PopMatters about his music, his art, and his insanely talented band.


Sunday, October 11 2009

The Messengers

K'naan's The Messengers series is a trilogy of episodes designed to highlight the genius of Nigeria's Fela Kuti, Jamaica's Bob Marley, and the United States' Bob Dylan.


Wednesday, October 7 2009

New Kids on the Block: Hangin’ Tough, Refusing to Let Go

In 1989, I loathed the New Kids on the Block with a passion and intensity that only junior high-aged children can bring to their study of popular culture, yet when Hangin’ Tough Live hit DVD, I had to see it.


Tuesday, October 6 2009

Rosanne Cash on Johnny Cash’s List

Johnny Cash was a serious scholar of music, and this knowledge was reflected in his own work, which included covers of everyone and everything from Jimmie Rodgers to Nine Inch Nails, oldtime hymns to reggae.


Thursday, October 1 2009

On the Sixth Day God Created Man…Chester: Part Three

Manchester's working class population showed the world that trade unions can resist authority. Such solidarity and class consciousness is heard in the arrogant sneers of the Stone Roses and Oasis.


They Came From Detroit

From Marshall Crenshaw looking spiffy in a powder gray suit with matching fedora to ... Carnival Cruise ship reggae?


Wednesday, September 30 2009

Kris Kristofferson: Leonard Cohen-esque

Kristofferson at times evokes Leonard Cohen, with a voice that pulls the listener into the depths of darkened barrooms, whether to share a sob story or a bit of tongue-in-cheek sagacity. His 20th album is out soon.


Wedding Players

When it comes to controlling the behavior of revelers at a wedding fest -- or rather, rolling with the behavior of revelers at a wedding fest -- a live band can adapt far better than the average DJ.


Tuesday, September 29 2009

Truck Drivin’ Songwritin’ Man

Trucking songs, with their heart-of-gold waitresses, foggy nights, heavy loads, and rolling tires, must hit some modern emotional sweet spot, and musicians on the road share a kindred spirit with truckers.


Monday, September 21 2009

Brazilian Funk and Cuban Soul Heat Up the Northern Climes

A killer samba beat and an irresistible Cuban Sway: Brazil's futuristic Otto and Cuban expat Alex Cuba deliver soulful sounds.


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